Marketing Featured South Asia

This campaign for clean air turns pollution by-products into pencils

Bengaluru, India To help improve the air quality for India’s underprivileged school children, nasal health brand Otrivin has launched an initiative called ‘Otrivin Pollution Capture Pencils’ where the brand distributes the ever-essential pencils to young students in Bengaluru. A pretty normal sighting – but with an incredible tech behind it: they are created from pollution by-products. 

The project is in collaboration with Wunderman Thompson Singapore, and in the initial phase of it, Indian innovation company Panjurli Labs was engaged to develop twenty-two specially designed purifiers. These were installed inside and outside school buildings, and for two months, were able to wipe out up to 74% of airborne pollutants and clean over 2 billion cubic feet of toxic air, said the agency.

The process of creating the pencils involved residues being gathered and then mixed with graphite. In the end, the project was able to create 10,000 custom-designed and non-toxic pencils. These were distributed to students and will similarly serve as a fundraising tool to add more air purifiers in local schools.

Farhad Nadeem, global marketing & digital director of Otrivin, shared that the Otrivin ‘Pollution Capture Pencils’ pilot in India is one such action that attempts to convert air pollution into positivity. 

“We hope that this initiative, while not solving India’s pollution challenge, inspires people to take simple actions to make the world a better place to live in and breathe,” Nadeem added.

Meanwhile, Mateusz Mroszczak, chief creative officer of Wunderman Thompson Singapore, commented, “We’re really proud to have partnered with Otrivin to take a small, but meaningful step to help bring cleaner air to India’s children.”

Wunderman Thompson revealed that Bengaluru was chosen as the city to focus on due to its air quality which is considered to go over WHO’s threshold of healthy air. Based on WHO’s data, 98% of Indian children breathe toxic air not just outdoors, but also in their classrooms where they spend almost 8 hours a day in their classes. Furthermore into the project, three low-income schools within the city’s industrial areas of Peenya, Hegganahalli, and Mallasandra were selected. 

In addition, the packaging of the pencils was designed by Indian multidisciplinary artist Gautam Dutta. Dutta said that in conceptualising, he had to visit the schools to find inspiration. Seeing how the children managed to smile despite their situation birthed into the joyful designs by Dutta that aim to represent the children and capture their imagination.